Anne prided herself on staying physically active well into retirement. One day, however, she experienced severe cramping in her legs during a long walk. An MRI revealed she had spinal stenosis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition is a narrowing of one or more areas in the spine. It most often occurs in the upper or lower back and exerts pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves branching out from the compressed regions. The spinal experts claim that We serve patients throughout New Jersey. Proper treatment will be provided to every citizen for removal of the pain. The experts will guide the patients to perform regular exercise.
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is bone damage related to osteoarthritis. Patients typically complain of cramping, pain or numbness in their legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms. Some report a loss of sensation in their extremities. Even bladder or bowel function can be impaired. The chances of developing this impairment increase dramatically after turning 50.
Doctors aim whenever possible to treat patients with spinal stenosis conservatively. If, however, nonsurgical treatments aren’t successful and a patient suffers either disabling pain or impairment in the ability to walk, spinal surgery might be indicated.
Most patients try one or more of the following treatments for at least three months before considering surgery:
A physical therapist can help an individual build strength and endurance. It’s also important to maintain the flexibility and stability of the spine.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Some of these medications are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. Common ones include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and indomethacin (Indocin). They cut inflammation and pain, though there’s a limit to the level of pain they can control. Among the most common side effects are bleeding ulcers.
While they can’t zap inflammation, these medications can control pain. The most common is acetaminophen (Tylenol). Overuse can result in kidney and liver failure, and consuming alcohol raises the risk of side effects.
Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine.
Both are nonprescription supplements. While some patients use one or the other, it’s possible to use them together for osteoarthritis. However, researchers cannot definitively say whether either one is effective for preventing or treating osteoarthritis of the spine. It’s important to consult a physician before taking them because of possible interference with other medications already prescribed.
Rest or restricted activity.
Sometimes rest followed by a slow return to activity can lessen symptoms. Doctors frequently suggest either walking or biking, depending on the patient’s circumstances.
A back brace or corset supports the back. Either one is especially helpful to patients with weak abdominal muscles or degeneration in multiple areas of the spine.
Corticosteroids injected as an epidural reach the spinal cord and nerve roots. They suppress inflammation and pain but can have serious side effects. Therefore, the number of injections a patient can have each year is usually limited.
When the above treatments fail to provide a satisfactory result, the standard of care calls for one of three types of surgery:
The surgeon removes all of the back part of the bone over the spinal canal, known as the lamina. This results in more space for nerves and affords the doctor better access to any bone spurs or ruptured disks to be removed. The procedure in some patients is performed using a single incision in the back. For others, the surgeon might use laparoscopy, inserting a camera and surgical instruments through several small incisions. Among the risks of a laminectomy are infection, a tear in the membrane covering the spinal cord, bleeding and a blood clot in a vein in the leg. Others include neurological deterioration and decreased intestinal function, known as paralytic ileus.
Only a portion of the lamina is taken out in order to relieve pressure or to permit access to a disk or bone spur. Risks are similar to those associated with a laminectomy.
Doctors sometimes perform this surgery at the same time as a laminectomy, though it’s frequently done on its own. The surgeon fuses two or more vertebral bones. This is a permanent procedure often indicated when one vertebra slips over another one. Bone either from the patient’s body or a bone bank fills the space between the two vertebrae. Doctors also typically use wires, rods, screws, metal cages or plates.
While surgery can relieve pain, it can’t halt the degenerative process. Unfortunately, symptoms for many patients return, sometimes within only a few years.